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Motorsport

Jessica Hawkins becomes first woman in five years to drive a modern F1 car

Racer and stunt driver earns Hungaroring test in Aston Martin’s 2021 F1 machine

Published: 26 Sep 2023

A couple of years after joining Aston Martin as ambassador, Jessica Hawkins has made her test debut for the team driving its 2021 F1 car at the Hungaroring.

It makes her the first female driver in almost five years to test recent F1 machinery, after Tatiana Calderon ran Alfa Romeo’s 2018 car in Mexico shortly after that year’s grand prix.

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Susie Wolff - now in charge of the all-female F1 Academy series - was the last woman to take part in an official F1 session, doing so in FP1 at Silverstone in 2015.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone at AMF1 Team for having the trust in me, believing in me, and for giving me this opportunity,” said Hawkins, whose preparation for last week’s test began with extensive simulator work in 2022. “It's taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here.

“When I first heard it might be a possibility, I could hardly believe it. I've had to keep it secret for months now – which was pretty hard! It's been absolutely worth it and it's given me really valuable insight. Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of a Formula One car and, having looked at the data, I'm really proud of my performance.

“Getting to drive the AMR21 has been a dream come true for me and one I've been ready to fulfil for a long time. I'll keep pushing for more and, in the process, I want to inspire other women and let them know they should follow their dream no matter what it is.”

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Apparently heavy rain held up the programme on the day, but once the track had dried Hawkins was “matching the reference lap speeds” according to F1 Evolution Programme Director Robert Sattler.

“Jessica progressively built up speed on a tricky track while managing flawlessly the complexity of the AMR21 car. Her feedback was precise and correlated with our data,” he continued. “Overall, Jessica executed an excellent test programme with a very professional attitude and we hope to see her in the car again soon."

And F1 team principal Mike Krack added: “We were really impressed by Jessica's preparation for the test – she worked incredibly hard with our simulator team and that made it an easy decision to put her in the AMR21.

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“Jessica approached the opportunity with great maturity; she was up to speed quickly and found a nice rhythm.

“This has been a hugely significant moment in Jessica's journey with AMF1 Team and I am pleased we could give her this next step in her development journey by testing a modern Formula One car.”

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